Parenting

Are Gluten-Free Foods Healthy for Children?

Studies found that 88% of gluten-free snacks for children lack nutritional value

Elliott was part of the Canadian study that looked into Canada's major supermarket chains, and she picked foods that were advertised as gluten-free off the store shelves.

Using the Pan American Health Organization’s nutrient profile, she compared the nutritional value of products that contained a gluten-free label and those that were not labeled gluten-free. Elliott found that products with a gluten-free label had a much lower level of proteins, total fat and saturated fat, and sodium. While this might sound good, expensive gluten-free options had no differences in the percentage of calories than their regular food counterparts.

According to PAHO criteria, says Elliott, about 80% of child-advertised gluten-free products, like fruit snacks, contain elevated sugar levels and about 88% are deficient in nutritional quality.

Elliott concluded the study by saying, "Given children’s lower daily caloric intake and the challenge associated with consuming a nutrient-rich gluten-free diet for children with celiac disease, in particular, it is important that the products designed for children are held to a high nutrition standard.”